The United States is undergoing a major shift in the way it generates and consumes electricity. In the midst of such visible changes, strong metrics are enlightening—even if they are, in some ways, stating the obvious.
The age of renewables is all about change, not only in the way we generate electricity but also the way we live and function. The acceptance of alternative-energy sources has affected how we view the environment, drive our cars and run our households.
You could call it utility-scale renewables 3.0. The previous two phases focused on getting large solar arrays and wind farms up and running (1.0) and then boosting their output (2.0). Today, developers are looking beyond just adding more rows of panels or bigger turbines to their plans.
Renewable power and greenhouse gases have always been closely intertwined. As one goes up, the other comes down. Of course, the benefits of clean power extend far beyond reduced emissions, but as long as there is a need to fight global warming, the demand for clean power will be strong.
As digital innovation, green power and energy efficiency become increasingly intertwined in our daily lives, it makes sense that manufacturers recognize the growing interconnectedness of their products and the importance of that interconnectedness to the consumer.
If the United States stops burning coal, shuts down one-quarter of existing nuclear reactors and trims its use of natural gas by 2050, the resulting increased reliance on wind, solar and other renewables will not result in a less reliable electricity grid.